Asda takes “immediate action” following BBC Watchdog report on home delivery crates
Following an investigation by the BBC’s Watchdog programme, UK supermarket Asda has apologised for using dirty crates for its home delivery service – and added that it has taken “immediate action to permanently improve standards”. The BBC Watchdog team carried out the undercover investigation after a whistleblower raised concerns. They arranged for a “government-accredited microbiology laboratory” to test bacteria levels on crates from 10 different deliveries.
According to the BBC, the lab found that three of the ten crates had bacteria levels that were “equivalent to dirt levels of a kitchen floor”. Two were “extremely dirty” – the same level as a kitchen bin.
Asda has responded to the BBC saying: “Our customers expect and deserve the highest standard of service. We haven’t lived up to this but our customers can trust us to take complaints seriously and do the right thing to resolve them.
“Although some of our policies and procedures have not been followed in these six stores, we have taken immediate action to permanently improve standards across all our home shopping services.”
The supermarket added that it had ordered the deep cleaning of every home shopping crate and van. Employees have also been briefed on cleaning and food safety rules.
UPDATE AT 14:30 GMT, 2 NOVEMBER
Asda has sent an official statement to Post&Parcel this afternoon regarding the Watchdog report.
The Asda statement outlines the actions which the supermarket has taken:
- “We have deep cleaned every home shopping van to make sure that they are meeting the high standards we expect which will continue every week.
- We have improved the ‘spillage kits’ in all our vans so that our drivers are able to clean small spills quickly and easily.
- We have re-briefed every store colleague about food safety rules for home shopping, including the use of separate red bags for raw meat and clear bags for loose produce. This re-briefing also covered our ‘clean as you go’ rules for home shopping crates.
- We will introduce additional deep cleaning for all delivery crates in all stores, which we trialled successfully this summer.”
Asda said that it hoped that this “combination of re-training, industrial cleaning of crates and reinforcing our proper bagging rules” will give its customers confidence in the supermarket’s service standards.
Asda also sent Post&Parcel its “detailed response” to the specific allegations raised by the programme:
- We have clear rules to make sure that all store departments are clean and hygienic.
- All our colleagues are trained on when and how to use the cleaning equipment, disinfectants and anti-bacterial sprays we provide when they join Asda and are then re-trained annually. All training records are independently audited.
- In home shopping, colleagues who pick products are expected to follow this training by inspecting crates every time they are used and clean them as they go using anti-bacterial sprays, disinfectants and cloths that are provided in all stores.
- Our home shopping vans are cleaned regularly.
- We do not use hoses to clean either our vans or delivery crates. We respect our colleagues’ personal opinions but it is untrue to suggest that hoses should be used to clean delivery crates, in fact this would breach Environmental Health rules.
- We provide specialist equipment to help drivers to follow our rule that no delivery crates should be placed on the floor in stores or during deliveries.
“Bagging produce and meat
- We have clear rules that uncooked meat and loose produce should be bagged separately to avoid cross contamination.
- Whilst these rules have not been followed in these cases, it is untrue to suggest these rules do not exist.”